Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The worst review ever.

I happened to read a theater review yesterday because it was near me and I needed something to read - and I think this is, hands down, THE worst review of a play that I have ever read. Here are the opening two paragraphs:

"Planting Shelly Anne," the newest offering from the Workhaus Collective, is a play that ought to be buried deeply in the ground.

Jeannine Coulombe's narcissistic, jumbled, 95-minute whine-a-thon is dreadful in almost every respect: Its storytelling is bloated, infuriating navel-gazing exacerbated by a playwright in love with her own voice. Its staging is affected and ineffectual. The performances are the best thing about it, but — obviously — that's not saying much.

There are many, many other negative comments in this review, but the one that stands out is this: "John Riedlinger and young Renee Roden do no harm completing the cast as Shelly Anne's inattentive husband and bratty, neurotic daughter."

I wonder, is it really conscionable to write such a nasty review? On the other hand, was the reviewer left any choice? I felt bad for the playwright and director (the actors mostly seemed to be treated more kindly, as the critic focused his displeasure on the staging and the play itself).

The entire review can be found here, for now.


Rachel Teagle said...

Actually, it's interesting that you commented on this review on a site called "Blogging While Feminist," because a lot of the reviewer's issues with the play revolve around the fact that it deals with the issues of a housewife - "dishwater problems" - and his condescending tone really give the whole thing an icky feel. A lot of women who've seen this play respond very differently than he did, but then again, I don't think he's the intended audience.
Now, I'm involved with the production, so I'm not an unbiased source, but man, he was mean, and I don't think the play would have gotten half the ire it did from him if it hadn't been so rooted in "womanly things." It's worth checking out for those who find the subject matter relatable.

Plain(s)feminist said...

Thanks for commenting and for giving more of a context to the review. I didn't even notice this theme (!) of him reacting to "womanly things" because 1) I haven't seen the play and am not familiar with it, and 2) I was distracted by how nasty the review was. I'm really sorry you guys had to deal with that. I'm going to tell my Women's Studies class about this.